Bishop Helps Celebrate Justice For Our Neighbors Clinic Grand Opening
After four years of planning and fundraising, Houston/East Texas Justice for Our Neighbors (HETX JFON) is open and providing legal counsel at the new branch at Mision Milby.
Five immigrant families and individuals with unique stories received legal consultation at the inaugural clinic held at Mision Milby on July 11. “Our grand opening and first clinic was a seamless success,” notes Brenda Naya Diaz, executive director of the Houston/East Texas Justice for our Neighbors (HETX/JFON) clinic. “All of our first clients left our office with much gratitude and appreciation for having their immigration related legal needs assessed.”
JFON is a network of legal clinics based in United Methodist churches around the country. The Houston charter providing law services to immigrants opened this month in Houston’s East End with the goal of providing hospitality and compassion to low-income immigrants through immigration legal services, advocacy and education. Rev. Will Reed, Servants of Christ UMC, is serving as the interim clinic coordinator.
This milestone has been a goal and passion of Rev. Diane McGehee, Director, TAC Center for Missional Excellence, for half a decade. Attending the ribbon-cutting on Friday, July 10 to share comments alongside Bishop Janice R. Huie, Diane shared, “The Texas Annual Conference is inviting our immigrant brothers and sisters to join us at the table of God’s grace. We have been working for many years with leaders across denominations, to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform that keeps families together, respects workers and insists that they be treated justly and paid fair wages, and that honors human dignity regardless of whether a person is documented or undocumented.” Adds Diane, “HETX JFON is a significant step, among many steps already taken, and yet to come, in working for the just treatment of all persons.”
Bishop Janice Riggle Huie reminded those gathered, “As United Methodist, we believe that to welcome the stranger is to welcome a child of God. We are called to love the sojourner in our midst. Therefore, we believe the treatment of immigrants in our society is a core religious value. The opening of the Justice for our Neighbors clinic is a sign of our love for the sojourner in our midst that Jesus taught and demonstrated to his disciples.”
“As Methodist Christians we affirm the inherent dignity and worth of every human being as made in the image of God, regardless of their legal status, explains Brenda. “ We also affirm that ALL are welcome at the table of God’s grace.”